Feeds

Chinese smartphone shipments outstripping feature phones

All aboard the mobile internet

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

China is celebrating another technology milestone after claiming that smartphone shipments in the world’s biggest mobile market have now exceeded feature phone shipments, although analysts have their doubts.

China’s IT ministry revealed (via TechInAsia) that around 195 million mobile phones were shipped in the first half of 2012, with on average 48 per cent of these smartphones.

However, it added that over three consecutive months since April this figure has exceeded 50 per cent, and in June it shot up to 56.9 per cent.

The report also shows the 2G/3G split for the first half of the year, with 3G phones recording a share of device shipments close to 58 per cent.

Although shipments do not equal sales, and installed user base is another matter again, the stats would appear to demonstrate the tremendous momentum behind smartphones in China.

By rough comparison, in Japan smartphones only began outselling feature phones in February this year, according to comScore stats.

In terms of what’s driving this growth, all the signs point to Android and budget.

Beijing-based analyst Analysys International said Android took a 76.7 per cent share of the smartphone market in Q2, while Canalys estimated recently that by 2015 almost half of Chinese smartphones will be handsets under $200 (£127).

Chinese internet firms like Alibaba and Baidu are getting into the market with cheap handsets based on their own mobile platforms, while the likes of local giants Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei and smaller players including Yulong and K-Touch are all targeting the low end.

Even chip giant MediaTek which traditionally produced chipsets and support for shanzhai or counterfeit phone makers, is apparently now focusing all its R&D away from feature phones and onto smartphones.

Of course, government stats are far from gospel truth.

The MIIT was recently forced to hastily recalibrate the size of China’s 3G mobile market to half of original estimates after it discovered some of the figures it had obtained from China Mobile were inaccurate.

There could be a similar twist in the tale if we discover the ministry has been rather loose with its technical definitions of what it classes as a smartphone, although the macro-trends are valid enough.

Gartner analyst Sandy Shen also cast doubt on the figures.

“According to our numbers, smartphones accounted for 18 per cent of the total mobile phone shipment in 2011, increasing to 28.7 per cent in 2012,” she told The Reg.

“On the installed base, the numbers will be even lower. So I’m not sure how they got the 50 per cent, but smartphone is the only segment that is growing while others like basic phones and feature phones are declining.” ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.